My eyes were pried open at dinner last night.
Besides The Cheesecake Factory and its mammoth portions serving as a microcosm for the obesity epidemic in America, something else stormed to my attention. Three women were seated at the table to my left. Each had their “slice” of cake in front of them, and all were snapping pictures of these genetically mutated pies with their smart phones.
Thank the lord “Bertha” tweeted that picture of her triple decker, 1200 calorie “slice” of Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake with extra diabetes before attacking that thing like a piranha.
Because Bertha’s friends and followers needed and wanted to know she was both pleasuring and torturing her body on this night.
This trend has also flowed into the sports world. Rewind to June 20th.
The locale was Game 7 of the NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Tickets were obviously at a premium. Only the wealthy or stupid (Adios college fund) could attend unless you’re a lucky sperm who was somehow fortunate enough to be credentialed by your employer. But for most, three or four hundred shekels bought you the right to stand and watch this event from the rafters, rendering LeBron James as a moving dot.
During this ultimate peak of live sporting events, one would think the game would be the primary focus. Yet at any given moment of this sensational display of supreme athletic prowess, I witnessed at least a third of the audience dicking around on their phones… Twittering, Facebooking, Instagramming, Vining, Youtubing, Pinteristing, Google Plussing, Foursquaring and probably sexting. Media included.
Social Media is smothering the way we watch sports.
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction,” Albert Einstein once said. “The world will have a generation of idiots.”
A wise man nailed down that prophecy. It’s as if retweets and likes have replaced food. We crave them.
I love Twitter.
Sports, and all news for that matter, is broken first in the Twittersphere. Without Twitter, I would have never been granted the privilege of Sharknado. Without Twitter, we wouldn’t have learned about J.R. Smith pestering girls with his “pipe.” Without Twitter, anyone in the world wouldn’t have a direct communication line to LeBron.
I hate Twitter.
There’s more misinformation than information. According to Twitter, Jon Gruden was to be the next coach of the Miami Hurricanes. According to Twitter, David Smith scratched his balls an hour ago. And according to Twitter, Jessica was so to be at Game 6 that she missed the most memorable shot in NBA Finals history to tweet a “selfie” telling you how she was to be at Game 6.
Watching sports is supposed to be our release. It’s intended to distract, entertain, and bond. No longer is it distracting, because social media has become a distraction from our distraction. We’re bonding more with our iPhones than our friends and family.
Think long and hard. When was the last time you unplugged?
In 2013, I bet a solid chunk of our population is guilty of TWF, Texting While Fornicating. We bring our phones EVERYWHERE, from the gym to the toilet.
I’m as guilty as anyone else, but the first step is admitting you have a problem. It’s time we recognize our technology addiction and learn to control it because technology — and more specifically social media — is controlling us and thus bleeding the world of sports. Even for the media, the so called experts. There is no possible way this person could be tweeting while effectively taking in the overflowing multitude of moving parts that is a team sporting event while writing an article. We are not machines.
Social media is both enhancing and drowning how we watch sports. It’s making us both smarter and dumber. It’s awesome to learn from Couper Moorehead that LeBron’s No-Headband PER (Player Efficiency Rating) didn’t compare to Mike Miller’s shoeless PER.
Of course, LeBron's No-Headband PER doesn't compare to Mike Miller's Shoeless PER of 267.37. (That's actually what it is).
— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) June 19, 2013
But then it’s excruciating to “learn” from Skip Bayless things like this…
LeBron is great in garbage time.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 10, 2013
Social media has its place in sports. I just don’t think we’ve optimized it yet, and odds are we never will.
And if you were at Game 7 and didn’t tweet about it, you were never there.